The House Judiciary Committee voted 12-8 against Del. Don Dwyer's (R-Anne Arundel) proposed amendment that would ban marriage rights for same-sex couples in the state on Wednesday, March 21.
But activists from the state's equal rights group, Equality Maryland, were disappointed with the defeat of Senate Bill 516, which would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. The bill was defeated last week, by a 6-5 vote in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
''We were beyond disappointed,'' says Sara Ryan, field organizer for Equality Maryland. ''This was a good piece of legislation and we presented really strong and compelling testimony of real life Marylanders whose lives have been destroyed by discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodations.''
Ryan says an upcoming transgender town-hall meeting, scheduled for April 24, will mark the beginning of a yearlong campaign to educate the general public about transgender discrimination issues and the importance of offering protection for that community in Maryland. The location of the meeting is currently being decided upon.